In the past, studies utilizing within-subject comparisons of small groups of pregnant women showed that forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) remained essentially unchanged during pregnancy. However, one of the findings from an epidemiological study was that women with greater number of children experienced a faster decline of FEV1. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of parity on FEV1 in a group of healthy volunteer women. To this end, cross-sectional multiple regression analyses of data from 397 healthy women participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) with a mean (range) age of 47.7 (18-92) years were performed. Similar analyses were done using the younger (50 years or less) and the older (> 50 years) subgroups. After controlling for age, height, weight, and smoking, parity as a dichotomous variable was associated with a higher FEV1 in women of child-bearing age (0.139 l; P = 0.02) but not in the older women. There was a modest link with the number of children (P = 0.05), with the first child possibly having the greatest effect on FEV1. We could not account for the effect of parity on FEV1 by the educational level, occupation, health status of the women, or by the presence of a cohort effect. Thus the nulliparous state is associated with lower FEV1 in this group of healthy adult women of child-bearing age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine